22 September 2017Last updated

Features | People

Lori Borgman: how I fixed H, or how H fixed me

Our columnist Lori Borgman was sure she’d have the perfect day – until she lost H, 1 and the space

7 Jun 2016 | 01:06 pm

I woke up early to enjoy the best part of the day. I made coffee, poured a mug full, traipsed upstairs to my favourite working spot and fired up my laptop on my desk beside a window that frames a towering white pine.

I opened the window as the sun peeked over the horizon. Long rays cast a soft pink glow that cued mourning doves to commence their serenade.

Some mornings you just know it’s going to be a good day. Maybe even a great day.

I got a jump-start on things by answering emails, including one from our oldest daughter asking about weekend plans. Fortunately, the plans concerned Saturday and Sunday, and not Thursday, because the h key wouldn’t work. It would work if I smacked it six or seven times, but who has time for that? I answered her email saying my h didn’t work, so to just fill in an h whenever a word didn’t make sense.

She wrote back that my email read like I was writing with an accent.

I couldn’t work without h, so I Googled how to fix a key that was on strike. Or not on strike. The first suggestion was to clean the keyboard. I found a brush and began sweeping the keys. There were a lot more crumbs than I thought – not an entire sandwich, but close.

If the laptop keyboard was that dirty sitting flat, I wondered what would shake loose if I turned it upside down. I was holding the laptop upside down with one hand and brushing with the other when I was vaguely aware of a soft thump. I ignored it, as falling debris from the keyboard was fascinating. I made positive identification of pretzels, almonds and part of a chocolate cookie.

Then I noticed the number 1 key was dangling – swinging like a miniature trapeze. Never having seen a key nearly detached, I watched it swing, gradually sensing my foot growing warm.

I glanced at the desk to see a flood of coffee. The thump had been my mug tipping. Coffee had spilled on to home-made Mother’s Day cards I was going to look at again, business receipts and a five-page insurance policy.

I sopped brown puddles from the desk, the floor, the surge suppressor and even discovered streaks trailing down the wall.

H was still not functioning. Wat is wit tis keyboard anyway?

I rebooted and went downstairs to refill my coffee. The coffee maker had turned itself off and the coffee was cold.

The computer rebooted and h was working again, butnowthespacebardidn’twork.

The sun disappeared behind clouds and the room had a chill. I closed the window as it started raining. The only bird outside was a woodpecker drilling holes in the pine, which probably has an insect infestation.

A great start to the day evaporated just like that, between fixing h and coffee, a dangling 1 and the space bar. That’s often how life is – nothing big; everythingsmall.

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Lori Borgman

finds the funny in everyday life, writing from the heartland of the US. Now if she could just find her car keys…